By: Gabi Martinez
July 19th, 2011 marked the release of The Summer Set’s sophomore album, Everything’s Fine. After a year and half of eager anticipation, fans are more than pleased with the new release. The Summer Set is known for their catchy pop-punk songs such as ‘Chelsea‘, ‘The Boys You Do (Get Back At You)‘, and ‘She’s Got the Rhythm‘. This new album definitely shows a lot of growth within the band: musically, lyrically, and personally. Their style of music in their first EP, In Color…, had a pop/electronic feel, whereas Love Like This stayed true to their pop roots, with a rock edge added to the sound. With the release of Everything’s Fine, the Arizona based band sounds more mature and has definitely taken a lot of risks. They are still the same band that you know and love, but have come to explore the world of music in a new light.
The album begins with the song ‘About A Girl‘, an emotional (I’m not going to lie, I shed a tear or two while listening to this song) love ballad, which sets the mood for the rest of the album. Their single ‘Someone Like You‘, for example, is filled with big, “Lion King” like drums, and is an absolute crowd favorite. Other fun songs include ‘Must Be The Music‘ and “Thick as Thieves”. ‘Must Be The Music‘ is a definite throwback to Love Like This with its great, dance feel. This is a perfect example of the same TSS we all love, but with a new twist. Some other songs sure to remind listeners of Love Like This are ‘Begin Again‘, and ‘Crash’ (bonus track). ‘Begin Again‘ delivers a positive message about moving on from a situation and starting anew. Overall, the songs have a specific meaning behind each and every one of them, but the one with the heaviest set of lyrics is ‘Mannequin’. The song is very profound and offers some straight-forward lyrics like, “He’ll pick you up just to knock you down. One day I’ll see you both in hell…Girl, I don’t know what you see. You’re more than just a mannequin to me.” Brian Dales (lead singer) uses the word mannequin as a metaphor meaning that the girl he loves means more to him than what the other guy is using her for. Other meaningful songs that Dales and the rest of TSS wrote are ‘When We Were Young’, ‘Back to the Start’, ‘Mona Lisa’, and ‘Love To You‘. “When We Were Young” and ‘Back to the Start‘ are both similar in the sense that they are referring to a past relationship and reflecting on the good times that came along with it. Although ‘When We Were Young’ has more of an upbeat tempo and memorable hook and chorus, ‘Back to the Start’ (my personal favorite) is another emotional song with heartfelt lyrics. The song is greatly composed and is very strong due to the heaviness of the drums. ‘Mona Lisa‘ is an acoustic song where Dales professes his love for someone dear in his life. Some form of the theme of love can be seen throughout the album. Lastly, the album ends with a Coldplay/Augustana sounding song called ‘Don’t Let Me Go‘. The piano in the beginning of the song adds a dramatic feel and the emotion in Dales’ voice gives the song a dark sound. The most dramatic point in the song is reached at the bridge when group vocals arise and start chanting, repeating until the end of the song, “Is it gone? Gone. Will it ever come back?”
Between the exploration of new instruments, group vocals, and deep, personal lyrics, The Summer Set has developed an A+ record. The new, different sounds give TSS fans a new appreciation for the band, and no one should underestimate how hard-working they actually are. If you play the album from start to finish, without any interruptions, it tells a story. I suggest you go and listen to the album in it’s entirety; better yet, BUY IT! Everything’s Fine is one of those summer albums that you will be playing in your car on full blast with the windows rolled down and have stuck on repeat. Now go and listen to it, get those catchy choruses stuck in your head, and remember, everything’s fine. =(